Ordinarily, when we reflect on addressing impurities in the nature, whether in the mind, the emotions, the vital nature or the physical body, we tend to fixate upon the weakness or limitation we have identified and work to directly control, change or suppress it. This is what may be termed a ‘negative’ approach to purification. A positive approach consists of building up the psychological force of peace which, in and of itself, prevents many of the disruptions that we otherwise would want to change or remove from our nature. The deeper the peace, the less the outer impulses can disrupt and disturb at all. Cultivating peace in the being is a progressive process over time. There can be a conscious effort to not react to the impulses that ordinarily would create a disturbance, and this may aid in the opening to the higher force as it descends from above and fills the being with the true peace that resides in those higher planes.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “It [purity] is more a condition than a substance. Peace helps to purify – since in peace disturbing influences cease and the essence of purity is to respond only to the Divine Influence and not to have an affinity with other movements.”

“If you get peace, then to clean the vital becomes easy. If you simply clean and clean and do nothing else, you go very slowly — for the vital gets dirty again and has to be cleaned a hundred times. The peace is something that is clean in itself, so to get it is a positive way of securing your object. To look for dirt only and clean is the negative way.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter IV Growth of Consciousness First Steps and Foundation, pg. 74

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 17 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.